Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Chevrolet Hall

April 19, 2012

[Eduardo Bueno]

Review by Eduardo Bueno

Belo  Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon in portuguese) is a 5 million people
city growing out of control and nested right in the middle of majestic,
ancient, crystal clear mountains of Minas Gerais State (the Province of the 
General Mines), in the southeast Brazil, far from the  wonderful Atlantic
beachs, close to whatever it is. Gold was found here in 1704. Lot's of gold: 
about 40 tons, that made the wealth of several nations - Brazil not
included... It was the biggest gold rush in the history of mankind till 1849, 
when new mines were found in California, and all the greed and famine 
and confusion moved up north. Topaz, emerald, turmaline also abound 
here, in the severe, crisp, granite mountains that make the horizon of 
Belo Horizonte surely "belo" but quite close to the city itself: you just 
can't see much further.. After all the gold was drained from it's veins,
iron was found in such quantities, that, more than one hundred years 
after, it still feeds the voracious hunger of China for such a metal...
Well, Bob came from an iron land too, didn't he? And he's sure searching
for a heart of gold, as he's growing old... So, it seems like he came to
right place, even that he was not able (as far as we knew) to walk 
around the old mines and thru the fantastic colonial almost-ghost towns
around BH. Anyhow, it was as if all that magnetic field put him - and the
band - under influence... And he surely took us for a ride, as we shall see, 
boys I think that last night's show, the third of this current tour, was by 
far the best till now, even if the two predecessors were plain enough.

1) The show in the Chevrolet Hall (oh God, this names...) started exactly
at 9 am - not a second later! Bob opened again with "Leopard Skin Pill Box
Hat". It surely is a funny, funky  song, that really rocked and rolled the
crowd and all, but one keeps on wondering why Bob decide to choose this
particular song as an opener to his concerts for this last few years.
Well, I guess he can do what he wants, and we shall not complain.  And it
the sound alright, anyway. So... let's keep on moving.

2) Specially because he left the keyboard, picked up the guitar and
started "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue". At the begining It sounded just
like the way it's been, lately. But, right after the second verse, Bob
soon showed that tonite is the night: he did the lead guitar, he bended
down his knees, he bitted his lips, he looked kind of mean, with knife
eyes - razor's blade eyes - and as he was throwing the poor girl out of
his room and onto the streets, he did some improvisations, expending the
song more than usual as if to announce to the band that he was really in
the mood to play tonight.

3) Then he took us for the ride: center stage, with no guitar on, just the
harp, he started to show to everyone around this new body language of his,
bending the knees, open his arms quite wide, touching his own chest with
left hand, putting the right hand in the hips, grinning, kind of smiling,
focusing his sight in a vast landscape of his mind as he started to play a
dense, tense, bluesy version of "Things Have Changed". He's looking as
Chaplinesque as they say he was in the begining of his career: this new
maneirisms, his puppet-like way of moving, his black suit, his white hat
surely transform this "new Dylan" of the XXI century in a character as
solid and important as all the other six (or seven? or eight?) personas
that he already incorporated in a career that already lasts for half a
century. And this particular guy, as all the other precedents, also has
something to do with Hollywood, not just because  this one owns an Oscar
(and he was right there, over the keyboard, facing us in the spite of
having no eyes) but because, all of a sudden, we are riding with him in a
Cadillac, with this mean looking woman pouring champagne in our laps, as
the car left town and started to bump in bad dusty road, as if going
strait to Paris... Texas, or to Saint Anton, or maybe Brownsville were a
new Gregory Peck movie is about to start. It was a hell of a version of
this song that is becoming really quite common in the set list, and always
had sound great to me.

4) I don[t know if it was a personal trip of mine, but the fact is that
the version of "Tangled up in blue" that followed was, definitely, a
cinemascope one, made for the big screen: it was really like a movie as
Bob move us along the tracks, filled with blood, sweat and tears. The way
he pronounced "pipe" was worth of the ticket - and even if he was the
"silent type" he can surely give voice to all our broken love fantasies,
or, what is worst, to out broken love realities... But the fact is that,
as you all probably already know, some brazilian producers just bought the
rights to make a movie out of The Blood on the Tracks songs - well Bob
made a whole movie out of one song alone.... And even if we don't know
what the carpenter's wife's and all these matemathycians's are doing with
their lives, we know, sure enough, that Dylan's still on the road - and
also to still warm up the connections between him, the movies and Brazil,
the brazilian director Walter Salles, just finished filming of Kerouac's
"On the Road".

Milena, a smart, kind and gentle TWELVE years old gal was  close to me,
in the front row, while the gorgeous, astonishing 19 to 21 years old gals 
Helena, Gabriela and Natalia, shining in the full blossom of their young rebel
age, also came to the show, the three of them with the brazilian edition of 
On the Road under their arms (but this can hardly be seen as a coincidence, 
cause, one hour before the show, the translator of the book to portuguese 
was signing it in a nice bookstore a block away from the venue - and this 
translator happens to be the one who is writing this lines now).  Pena, a 
almost 60 years old guy who saw Bob for the first time during the Rolling 
Thunder Revue in Boston's Garden em june of 1975 ("the afternoon show"
as he pointed out) and Rogerio, a guy approaching  his fifities, big Dylan
conossaieur, also were there, side by side with the 14 year old cousin of
Milena, who happens to know every word Bob was singing as if they were,
you know, written in his soul.   We were all passengers of this magical trip, 
when Bob suddently left the  car abandoned out West... and went to 
some kind of harbor, where his ship was with his sails spread, ready
to depart...

5) And sure enough "Beyond here lies nothing" came in the sequence and it
was strong enough to broke every window, and every window is made of
glass. Great version, far better than the one in Brasilia, two nights ago,
at least in my opinion. Strong, tight, with Bob on guitar (I think - I did
not took any notes, and I hope my memory serves me well...)     All I can
assure you is that the captain feels nothing but affection for all those
who sailed with him, cause it seems like, after all the bumping road, he
was kind enough for taking us to same remote island, maybe Black Diamond

6) Cause after he sailed us thru that kind of storm that was "Beyond", the
spirit of the waters leaded us to this abandoned casino build in a cliff
in the remote corner of the island, were Bob became the pianist, playing
that waltz of his in a such melancholic way  that he sounded like a
ghost... Did you ever seen a ghost? No, but you believe in them... In
"Spirit of the Water",, Bob pressed his keyboard hard and made a series of
kind of jazzy improvisations and, for me,it was really as if he sounded
like the pianist of the ghost casino, refusing to stop his act, even in a
decaying, empty room, like in a Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem. But the room
was far from being empity, boys!  Anyhow, my impression is that everyone
there was like suspended between worlds

7) Then, the spirit of the water got mean, and the waters got high - and
it's surely bad out there.... Bob took us to another strange town in this
mental landscape of his, and all of a sudden there were we walking, almost
floatin, in the flood, in the frightening company of Charlie Patton. It
was then that I realized that Bob could became a Robert Crumb playing
card, like the ones this great cartoon master already draw of the all
Blues Pioneers and Country Masters and stuff. Bob really look like a
larger than life character and he and the band were fucking brillant in
this particular version of "High Water", not so rocky and stormy was the
one we knew from "Tell Tale Signs", since the mandollin gave it a kind of
country balance, but it was though and dense and "mean" enough.

8) When the water finally was drained, the nighmarish journey was far from
over, cause, between the wrecks of the Charley Patton's village, Bob found
a shortcut and drove us strait to ...oh, god, "Desolation Row". And then
all the ghost of long deceased blues men from the South became a
superhuman crew and Cinderella, Romeo, Einstein, Casanova and Doctor Filth
showed up unannounced like if they were plain pain painted in the wall
down to suicide row... And they were all tip topping cause the melody was
gentle, and sweet and persuasive and Bob, on keyboards once again, was
phrasing his words and punctuating them with sole notes of the keys in
such away that what could as well be a nightmare became a king of lisergic
dream - and don't ask me why but I swear I start to thing about the great
Jerry Garcia and his Grateful Dead. But we were all grateful alive. Thanks
once again, Bob. Is there anything we can do for you? But instead, he was
the one who seems to be grateful, cause he keeps on smiling, going back
and forth on the keyboards, taking one of his hands out of it and leaving
it suspend on air for a while like in a slow motion karate move, and
posing another hand in the hip, or almost burying it in the pocket,
putting his left hand on the chest to thanks the cheer of the crowd,
grinning, grinning, as if he was a disguised  Robin Hood playing eletric

9) Honest with me was honest to itself, fair enough, but somehow, seems
like a pit stop on the journey that Bob was pulling us thru.

10) But then, "Simple Twist of Fate" exploded like a living picture, again
like a movie painted with "only" the qualities of  voice and music, and
there we were in that old strange hotel with the neon burning bright thru
the beat-up shade, but we soon were driven out of it strait to the
waterfront docks, and the guy could also talk like a parrot and move like
a pierro,  and I SWEAR to God that the man had a face like a mask! The
light (much better, by the way, than the non-existent lightning in the
Brasilia show) was bright and white and then it was is if Bob had his face
painted in white like in the Rolling Thunder Revue, except that it was now
his own face. His white teeth flashing as he was pouring out every word
made me fell a spark tingle to my bones - but I did not felt it alone: all
the beautiful girls were nearby, and also Pena, the guy who saw this very
same song sang in the Boston Garden (in "afternoon show"),  37 years ago -
I said thrty seven years ago, my friend!

11) But the trip surely has been a painful one, and also slow one , it
seems - so Bob jumped again in the Cadillac, like in the advertinsing, 
and drove us strait do the Highway 61 and when those wheels were on fire,
I could not help but bound my head and cry cause a friend from Woodstock
had called me in the afternoon saying that the great Levon Helm had passed
away. So, I was dedicating myself this song for him, and I hope Bob
forgives me to dare to do so without his consent. When the phone with US
identification rang, and the sweet girl from Woodstock told me the bad
new, I immediatly thought of whom, how and when gave the notice to Bob.
How many times already, man? "Richard Manuel is dead", "Rick Danko is
dead", "Richard Farina" is dead" "Victor Maymudes is dead". Who is the one
that have to approach Bob to tell him things like that? I don't know -
what I DO know is that he's still on the road and surely there is no way
better than this to honour all the deceased heroes of Bob's life . 12) And
then the long and winning road took him, and us, to this mysterious  old
west town, with african trees tortured by the hot wind and he showed us
that, yes, he can also be a kind of undertaker, or at least  "The Man in
the Long Black Coat". For me - with so many shows along my on personal the
road - this was the best moment not of the show as a whole but ofmy own
particular concert, cause it was a a prize and a surprise and I just love
to hear the crickets and the rambling force of this particular song, so I
just left my home and my family in the company of a strange, and didn't
leave even a note,

13) And the horse ride took me to the foot of Thunder Mountain. The
rolling thunders strike a fearful opera sound in the clouds that surround
it's peak, but Bob seems decided to climb it anyhow. And since he is in
this place of big mountains that is Minas Gerais, he delivered us a solid
rock, almost as if it was made before the fundation of the world. Great,
thundering version, with Bob interfering in the natural rhithym of the
song phrasing his keyboards in a moody, idiosincrathic, highly personal
way, which made Tony Garnier open a big smile.

14) "Ballad of a Thin Man" - can it get any better? I think this song
represents as better as any the way Dylan is feeling this days - relaxed,
happy, content with himself and with his "old-new" audiences and it's the
part of the show were he can really show to everyone his "new" puppet-like
movements, open arms wide, managing the two mikes and the harmonica,
listening to the echoes of his own voice in the smoke rings of his

15) Then, "Like a Rolling Stone" completly different from two nites ago,
thanks, specially to the audiience, who sang it OUT LOUD, screaming every
word, All the band was surprised: they all looked with big open eyes and
smiled A LOT to each other and to the public . Then Bob just did NOT sang
the "How does it fell" part, till the end of it, just to let the audience
do the job for him. And we did it, man - as to prove, without
"nationalist" pathetic reasons - that Brasil "deserves" to have one native
of the land to film "On the Road" and these brazilains producers (I never
heard of them, anyhow) seems to be ready to made a picture out of  "Bllood
on the Tracks song"s ,man,". I have been to 70 (73, last nite) Dylan's
concerts and I NEVER saw an audience so responsive to the call of the
wild! EVERYONE sang it, man! EVERY FUCKING SOUL in that room, man, from
the 12 year old Milena to the "lost" parents of Ana Paula, the lovely girl
that was close to me, to the "afternoon Boston show" Pena, to Fabao, a
dylanogist, plus fathers and mothers thru all the land, they didn't
critizice, cause they COULD understand. For several people it instantly
became a historic night, long to be remembered. And Bob surely felt all
that energy, man! Ask him, if you want!

16) Then, "All Along the Watchtower". well, you know, we use to expect Bob
to change his setlist all the time. No use to do it no more,. He found the
perfect way to please the crowd with this perfect  final sequence of
songs, I guess. It was great, and everybody again sang together.

17) They left, then and came back again to throw some more stones in this
land of precious gems and fiinished the whole thing with a great version
of Rainy  Day Women. Guys, you ALL have to be here - if not in the show it
self,  at least in the sidewalk in front of the venue after the show: to
see the smiling bright faces that said it all. It was a hell of a ride,
thru the mountains of doom, but it took us to the gates of Eden.
We could not go in, thou, cause our guide can't get back to paradise no
more: some say, he killed a man back there.     


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